In the previous post “Tips to Successful Development of Asset Inventory,” we discussed the important things to remember in developing asset inventory. Heather and Ross shared lessons from actual asset inventory experiences.
This post narrates more learning from Heather’s experience in the US and Ross’ asset inventory skill application in New Zealand.
Lessons from the fire hydrant man
Heather shared that their asset management manual includes the video of a practitioner who started initially with hydrants. His goal was to get comfortable with the asset management – asset inventory process.
She explained that this asset management practitioner did all of his hydrants because:
- the hydrants were something he could see;
- he could go out and look at them;
- he could touch them;
- he could take a picture of them; and
- he did an inventory of his water hydrants as a starting point.
As a result, he got very comfortable with that and then was able to move on, Heather said.
Heather advised that as what Ross mentioned if you pick, maybe a subset of your assets and try it out, it can give you the confidence and the skills that you need to go further.
This is a good way to start compared with starting some of the assets that might be a little more difficult because you can’t see them or you don’t know where they are.
Tips for doing inventory on water utilities asset management
In the context of water utility asset management, Ross shared that the areas that are a bit challenging in building an asset inventory are the pump stations and treatment plants.
Undertaking pipe inventory. Pipe inventory is actually not too bad because they’re pretty distinct elements, he said. He added that doing an inventory of pipes is just a matter of how you’re grouping your hydrants, valves, tees and other assets like that more than anything.
Dealing with pump stations and treatment plants. Ross advised that when dealing with pump stations and/or larger more complex treatment plants what they did in New Zealand was:
- Break it down into sections;
- Start at a very high level just describing your major process strands;
- Then you might want to get down to individual key elements within the electric pumps or motorized valves or screens or whatever it is that you’ve got there.
- Go through the mechanical-electrical treatment assets twice. Get the first run through with the major asset elements and then go down to more details later on, depending on the on-going analysis you’re doing.
Ross’ take on conducting a condition assessment
Ross explained that condition assessment is having a look at everything and getting a good understanding of what’s happening with the assets. It is looking at what you’ve got and what you can get, he added.
This may include looking at the civil works of the treatment plant or evaluating breakages or leakages of water pipes. It may involve specific testing on particular water utility facilities such as steel pipes, among others.
He cautioned that in doing condition assessment one can end up spending a huge amount of money without gaining very much extra knowledge.
Ross advised applying a bit of a filter on conducting condition assessment. Undertaking a risk assessment is often used as the first filter in New Zealand.